Time and again, we have come to realize that anything in excessive amounts can quickly become detrimental. Now, as much as we try to deny it, this has rung true even in regards to the kind of power we boast as individuals. Allowed to play with different dynamics in whichever we deem fit, the human beings haven’t always made a judicious use of such freedom. In fact, if you look through the history, you can find some really grave incidents where our ill-motivated actions went on to affect a large section of people. To avoid these situations, the world introduced dedicated regulation across every major area in our lives. The vision here was, of course, to bring in more accountability for our actions, and while we have achieved that under some capacity, there have also been some significant lapses along the way. You see, the world’s reaction to a reduced wriggle room was never going to be positive; hence we soon started witnessing cases of rules evasion. It only got worse once technology appeared on the scene with its expansive digital realm, which had every attribute to become companies’ protective blanket against the regulatory eye. Nevertheless, the governing forces look like they are finally back on track, and a recent decision does a lot to convey their intention of closing this gap at the earliest.
U.S. Department of Justice has announced a renewed effort to crack down on the white-collar crime, as the margin of error for repeated corporate offenders receives a major cut-back. From now onwards, any reconciliation over breaches like bribery will include a thorough review of the offender’s entire past history. It must be noted that the new approach covers all federal, state, and international offenses. Furthermore, the enforcement will be dealing with criminal, civil, and regulatory violations. Since the decision was made official, there has been a major pushback from the companies, and within the noise, we have heard some powerful arguments as well.
“If I plead guilty to an environmental crime, which often are strict liability [crimes], and then we have a kickback scheme in a whole different business unit, why does that lap over into that consideration?” said Joseph Warin, Chairman of law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s litigation department in Washington D.C.
However, despite the outrage, DoJ has firmly maintained its stance. When asked about the situation, Chief of the Justice Department’s FCPA unit, David Last said:
“And look, if there are so many instances to count, that may be another conversation that we need to have. If you’re in the 50s, or the hundreds of prior touches, that’s something we probably need to know.”
The announcement falls in line with Justice Department’s larger efforts towards curbing corporate misconduct. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the department had set-up a corporate crime advisory group to oversee all measures being taken within the said context.